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The experiences of young adult carers (YACs) have been vastly under-researched, particularly within Australian caregiving literature. This article explores the existence, extent and nature of informal young adult caregiving in Australia, defining YACs as individuals aged between 18 and 25 years who provide unpaid care or support to family members living with chronic illness or disability. The aim of this article is to provide a foundation for the re-conceptualisation of YACs as a distinct carer cohort who, without suitable recognition and specifically targeted support, may experience significantly reduced future life opportunities. The traditional, narrative-based review will first redefine YACs in accordance with overseas literary definitions and will then explore the complex nature and extent of young adult caregiving in Australia. Explanations as to why young adults are increasingly undertaking these informal caregiving roles and how YACs differentiate from their non-carer peers will then follow. Finally, three prominent paradigms, namely the clinical, social capital and carers' rights' perspectives, will be presented to establish a greater understanding of the implications, contextual experiences and unmet civil rights of YACs in Australia.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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